Edwardses Arrive–Start Work

New Leaders Welcomed To Crestmont

A WARM WESTERN WELCOME–Surrounded by red, blue and yellow balloons, (l-r) Colonel Noella Phillips, Commissioners David and Doreen Edwards, and Colonel Dennis Phillips pause before greeting officers and employees.

by Robert Docter –

Commissioners David and Doreen Edwards were welcomed to Crestmont–Western territorial headquarters–as our new territorial commander and president of women’s services. They succeed Commissioners Peter and Grace Chang (R) in those positions.

Entering the campus on a brilliantly sunny day under a magnificent azure sky, our new leaders walked through a gauntlet of hundreds of yellow, red and blue balloons ascending heavenward. They then proceeded to a patio reception and formal greetings in the Crestmont chapel.

Led by the territorial chief secretary, Colonel Dennis Phillips, the service of welcome allowed officers and employees at the territorial center to express a warmth of greeting that paralleled the heat of the day.

Gordon Bingham, territorial social service secretary, and Major Anne Pickup, discipleship and lay leadership director, represented the standing-room-only crowd in the chapel with spoken words of welcome. Bingham expressed for those assembled the joy of being able to serve with the first black territorial commander appointed to lead an American territory. Pickup provided a basket of gifts, each symbolizing challenges and opportunities soon to confront the new leaders.

In a brief response of appreciation, Mrs. Edwards thanked those who had expressed words of welcome and in strong and friendly tones said: “We look forward to a happy, sunny time here in the West.” She went on, quoting Jeremiah 29, to note that it is their intention to assume the roles of servant leaders.

In a devotional message, Edwards drew on Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where, in the initial chapters, he sought to draw together various splinter groups of the congregation–some followers of Paul, some of Apollos, some of Peter–and some of Christ. “Like a good pastor,” Edwards said, “he tries to make them see how foolish is this whole exercise.” He quoted scripture, using Paul’s words: “We are only servants of Christ–regard us as such. Nothing more–nothing less.”

Edwards then echoed the identical sentiment of servanthood. “We are grateful for all the courtesies you have given and will give to us as your leaders. But please do us the favor of not putting us on a pedestal. Not for one moment would we make the mistake of thinking that any courtesy shown us is ours by right. We might have been given the responsibility to lead, and that we will do, God helping us. But we are here to serve with you and alongside you– nothing more–nothing less.”

Edwards continued paralleling Paul’s discourse and said: “My wife and I join you as partners. We have come to join the team. Let us never forget, too, that we are part of a much wider partnership. We are members of the body of Christ. We believe we are here only because God wants us here. This is his work — not ours — not the General’s. It is his. We are but stewards entrusted with the task of serving for the time being in this corner of the vineyard.

“So there you have it. We come as servants and as partners. We pray that you will see us as your fellow servants with God.”

Special music from brass and vocal ensembles was presented under the leadership of Bandmaster Ivor Bosanko, and the service concluded with the singing of the beautiful prayer contained in they hymn America the Beautiful.

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